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Re: Announcing the Fedora Geo Spin

On Wed, 21 Jan 2009 11:53:55 -0500, Yaakov Nemoy wrote:

> 2009/1/21 Beartooth <Beartooth swva net>:
>>        Can people without linux-savvy, cartography-savvy, nor
>> electronics-savvy use OSM at all?? Will this spin, perhaps, enable the
>> likes of us to use it in the same way we use Garmin, Delorme, and
>> MapTech products under XP?
> I don't know yet. Part of it depends on the tools that OSM people use
> for doing their things. Some of the tools require you understand a bit
> about cartography. This is similar to Wikipedia requiring writers to
> have some decent writing skills in their languages. But this just
> applies to writing for Wikipedia, as in it also applies to editing OSM.

	Let's keep this on the Fedora list a while, in hopes that no one 
will call it too far off topic, and that others who know more than I will 
join in.
> I'm sure you can read wikipedia already, and there are a number of tools
> that render the data in OSM, and make it readable to the layman. There
> are also a number of tools that can take OSM information and give you
> good route planning on top of it. These are as easy to use as the
> developers make them, but a number of them are in Fedora already. The
> ultimate goal is to consolidate these packages into a single Spin.

	I've been known to do a certain amount of expository writing and 
make a living at it, but on very specialized topics; I wouldn't want to 
add anything to wikipedia. It's a reference tool to me.

	And similarly with my GPSs and topo maps. I bought the first one 
ten years back, planning on its help learning my way around a new 
location as soon as we both retired. To learn it, I started making my own 
maps, to scale (a big difference!) of a public hunting ground where I'd 
spent a dozen years' worth of weekends, hunting in season and doing trail 
maintenance the rest of the time.

	The results soon enthused and amazed me; two of my favorite 
trails ran within fifty yards of one another for a furlong, and I hadn't 
known it.

> The second aspect is the overall user interface. There are a number of
> tools people use to make decent interfaces for MID devices. The real
> trick is going to be integrating them, so that people will have easy
> access to the OSM related tools on their MIDs.

	Sorry -- what's an MID?

> Are you looking to be a producer of topographical data or a consumer?

	Strictly a consumer, so far as others are concerned.I doubt many 
will be greatly interested in squirrel den trees and stands to watch them 
from, other than an occasional old hunting buddy; and anyway, such things 
change whenever a big tree falls, and also according to the mast crop.

> If you're looking to become a consumer, there are a
> few options, but they all rely finding a way to get the topographical
> data in the database first. 

	I have recent proprietary topo map software from Garmin and 
Delorme, and may yet acquire more from Maptech. Can I use those? (If I 
don't put them into the public database, which likely already has the 
same *topo* data from the same Coast & Geodetic Survey, it shouldn't 
violate their copyright, nor my license to it for my personal use. Things 
like rest stops and burger joints don't interest me; I'd prefer to delete 

> Try lobbying your local wildlife agency that
> publishes this data to participate in OSM. Once the data's there, you'll
> need a tool that can display it for you on a MID or similar device. If
> such a tool exists that is open source, we can look at including it in
> the spin, of course.

	The F&W in Virginia (http://www.dgif.virginia.gov), where I live, 
and the one in Tennessee (http://state.tn.http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/
gis/us/twra/), where my in-laws are, both already have maps, though I 
don't know what sort. (VA says it has designed its own (http://
www.findgame.org/about.asp) and also mentions GIS (http://
www.dgif.virginia.gov/gis/) -- something of which I know only the 
initials -- as does TN, in a couple places.) Maybe they're already usable?
>>        Knowing of your project, I've skimmed through the lists carried
>> on Gmane, and discovered, although 99 44/100% of what I see is over my
>> head, that it does include some topographic stuff (I can't yet really
>> tell what.)
> It's a hobby, you have to at least start somewhere ;)

	Precisely. Where? Is there already a site for true beginners? Or 
might I perhaps best wait for the new spin, and work from that? 

	I'm strictly a user of Fedora (who wouldn't know a line of code 
if it bit me), but not a completely clueless one -- I've been running it 
since it was RH7. That might be worth a little bit.
>>        I am not sanguine that it may be user-friendly enough for the
>> likes of me, nor become so in what is left of my time; but hope springs
>> eternal ....
> This is one of my goals though. 

	Oh good. Maybe I can help a little with that; I used to swap 
drafts with colleagues, asking one another, "Am I making sense to general 
readers yet?) 

> One of the first targets i have in mind
> is Windows users who show up at a Mapping Party. The goal is to provide
> something they can use out of the box to participate. There will be
> people there familiar with the Gnome Desktop anyways, so they will be
> able to show the participants where to find applications and tools.

	Hmmm ... I heard of these yesterday for the first time; I'll have 
to try to find out if any are scheduled hereabouts. Is there a central 
listing, like the one for LUGs? Google seems to get a lot of adventitious 

Beartooth Staffwright, PhD, Neo-Redneck Linux Convert
Remember I know precious little of what I am talking about.

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